Dopingfreie Sportlernahrung

Doping-free Supplements for Rowers


Supplements for Rowers

We recently spoke to Sponser, a sports nutrition company. Their products are used by rowers, triathletes, cyclists and runners – some of them the best in their sport. We mostly talked about professional sport, but the same principle applies to all athletes – no doping! 

What do I do if I have accidentally used unapproved products?

First of all, you should keep a precise record of which products you are taking (including the batch number). It is written on every product. If anything ever happens, you can ask the manufacturer about the status of the products at any time. Serious manufacturers will be happy to provide you with the information you need. Sit down with the manufacturer and speak openly with your doping agency. If you have been tested positive without a reason, only cooperation helps.

But why can athletes test positive, although they have consumed doping-free sports supplements?

3 things can be a cause for a positive test:

  • There are ingredients that are approved in certain countries but are on the WADA list. Furthermore, it is possible that even if the certain ingredient is not in the product itself, it could be used within the production facility, so traces could be in the supplement you took.
  • Some drugs can cause a positive doping test.
  • And of course: the criminal element of the manufacturer who wants to increase the effect of the product.

No company wants to have contaminated products in their range, because this means an existential risk in the event of positive doping results. Let’s take the company Sponser, whose products we have in the shop. They supply world champions, Olympic winners and other top athletes in rowing, skiing, triathlon, ice hockey and other sports. Can they afford such a mistake? No, such a thing can lead to bankruptcy.

An example of positive tests and the following accusations

Two Olympic athletes have been tested positive for anabolic steroids by the anti-doping authority UKAD. The two athletes were so-called “heavy users” of supplements and immediately suspected the sports nutrition manufacturers. And the UKAD analysis actually found nano-traces of the same steroids as in the doping test. Nevertheless, a few facts about this case are suspicious:

  • The only products ever tested “positive” from the suspected manufacturer were the samples sent in by the two athletes. The manufacturer is a member of the doping-free label “Informed-Sport”, which tests the products of sports nutrition manufacturers. A single find of unsupported ingredients before the incident would have made the certification invalid.
  • The “positive” product was a powder for a sports drink –  an electrolyte-carbohydrate drink powder, without any other special ingredients. Why should someone add anabolic steroids to such a product of all places? Or how is contamination possible if the manufacturer is certified “doping-free” and has never had an incident?
  • Subsequent control analyzes of the raw materials and the mixture of the same batch by the independent laboratory of “Informed-Sport” were negative.
  • There were no positive doping results with other athletes who had used the same products – even from the same batch.

Three-way relationship: anti-doping label – athlete – manufacturer

In this case, there appears to be either known doping by the athletes, or they took other supplementary products from dubious providers. Puzzling about the incident is, that the two athletes accused a sports drink product, where realistically no anabolic steroids are to be expected. And this is what defines the tension between the manufacturers and the top athletes. Medium-sized manufacturers can’t afford to be under suspicion. Doping-free sports nutrition is a must! But the case still shows several problems:

  • Defence strategy of the athletes: Nutritional supplements are a primary suspect when it comes to doping.
  • Doping-free labels do not automatically offer absolute security.
  • Marketing and quality labels. Many people recommend that athletes only use sports nutrition products that are certified by a “doping-free” label. Today’s quality standards (e.g. BRC, IFS, ISO 22000) in the food industry already work according to the same principle such as anti-doping labels (e.g. Informed-Sport, Informed-Choice, Wall-Protect, NSF). These standards include production monitoring based on a specific risk analysis (HACCP), doping substances count as a risk and are dealt with accordingly. Allergens have to be dealt with in the same way. Track and trace are also required to uphold the quality standards, i.e. the upstream and downstream traceability of the raw materials and the finished products.

The coach as a mentor:

If your coach says … do not take this or that product, or he tells you … only take a supplement that is on the positive list, then assume that he wants to protect you. No coach is interested in his athletes being tested positive. Coaches usually know what they are talking about.

But keep the following two things in mind:

  • Almost all supplements available on the market are of high quality and pure. Look for serious producers.
  • Even supplements on the positive list are no guarantee for prohibited additives because the control process leaves a lot of opportunities for the manufacturer.

The manufacturing industry must comply with processes and comply with safety.

The industry is responsible and has to adhere to quality standards. For reasons of vulnerability to “criminal” energies, but also for reasons of trust on the part of us athletes. We athletes have to rely on the manufacturers. We can not have even the slightest doubt that there is something “impure” in our supplements and food. Track and trace procedures as well as an accurate risk analysis of the manufacturing process are an absolute must for us athletes. Rowperfect has 100% trust in Sponser Products. We know the top athletes, some even personally, who take the products. That is why we have the products in our range.

Interested in Sponser products? Just have a look at our shop!


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